Asked by: legal of a manufacturing company
Hi Lawyer. Our compliance department recently is conducting an internal investigation on employees' reimbursement for taxi expense in other cities' offices within 2017. We found that an employee has the following misconduct:
a.Travel date is different from the invoice date, while invoice date is in 2016;
b.Invoice number is "12345678", with the amount of up to RMB 2,000 Yuan;
c.It is shown that the invoices are test invoices.
We found that the invoices with small amount are real and normal invoices, while invoices with high amount do not meet the reimbursement requirement. The non-compliance invoices are in 36% of whole invoices in numbers while 71% in amount. Our compliance department communicated with the employee and he replied that it was hard to take normal taxi in those local offices while most cars are private ones. Also, the reimbursement way is the office's local habit. Therefore, we would like to know that if we ask the employee for reimbursement return, is there any legal risk?
Answered by: RDL-Shanghai Attorney Gu Lifei
First, if company finds that there is no real travel or any cost, you can ask for the reimbursement return. If there is any formal issue, under the circumstance that there are company's regulations stating that company could reject the reimbursement, you could also ask for the return. However, if there is only formal issue, while company has approved in the examination and paid for it but asked for return afterwards, the legal risk is relatively high. The judge may consider that when employee submits the invoices, company has already known or should know about the invoices non-compliance issue and company has already shown approval on it.
According to your words, your case actually meets the above last condition. The employee insisted the real existence of cost, and company has no evidence to deny the cost existence. Also, the difference of invoice date and travel cost date is obvious. Under these circumstances, your company still approved on the application and paid for the reimbursement. Therefore, the judge may not support on company's opinion in this case.